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Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Nature of Man

I always find it curious when people are discussing how things are and how they should be, that they often make a comment to the effect that "such things should not happen in the 21st century." That is offered as some sort of justification indicating that we should know better and that, by now, we should have gotten beyond that particular behavior. You will likely hear such statements when people are complaining about this or that attitude or such and such actions, particularly by religious people.

But what such attitudes and ideas betray, is a fundamental misunderstanding, or outright lack of understanding, about human nature. Humans are constantly trying to find a place in their minds that allows them to have peace within themselves. We humans are constantly looking to appease our consciousness and convince ourselves that we are not, after all, that bad. But if there is one thing that the Bible tells us, is that man is a sinner by nature and he is not neutral nor good. In spite of how much energy we expend trying to convince ourselves to the contrary, we are sinners, despicable sinners, in need of a savior.

Of course, if you don't believe what the Bible has to say about man, then you're not likely to understand the concept of sinfulness and the need for a savior. Reminds me of what a popular preacher said during a sermon on Christ in the Old Testament. In referring to Jewish folks and their need for the gospel, he indicated that many of them, perhaps most, don't feel a need for salvation from sin. "At that point" he said, "the conversation is over." Although we shouldn't give up the first time our offer of the gospel is rejected, we should understand that the one who does not accept the authority of the Bible is not going to understand his need for salvation. The sad truth is that the great majority of humanity goes along the path of life giving little if any thought to their spiritual condition. Some haven't been confronted with their sinfulness. But many simply do not care!

And it is it not just the non-religious person who falls into this trap. There are many who call themselves believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who have the same problem. This takes place even though in many cases, they really should know better. Take for example the reaction to the recent Nashville Statement. How did many folks who are affiliated with various churches react? They immediately called it a distortion of what man is and how we should view them with tolerance and "love." This, as you probably surmise by now, is the code that our current generation of religious leaders use to dismiss what the Bible has to say about any subject they don't like. Claim your are tolerating and loving people and, presto, you are now following the "spirit" of the Bible, if not the word. It escapes them that if you're going to be a Christian without a Bible you're basically a fish without water!

In 1 Corinthians 4:6, Paul told his readers that they "should not go beyond that which is written." What exactly is such admonition intended to do? Simply to warn us, who have a tendency to want to stray from God's word the minute we can, to stay within the bounds he has set for his creation. Admittedly, there are many things that are not discussed in the Bible (i.e. calculus, the temperature of a volcano, etc.). But those that are should be accepted as the decrees of a Sovereign and Holy God who needs to not only be respected, but also feared. And therein lies the problem. The fear of God, that which the Proverbs writer called "the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7), has been completely lost in this science-obsessed generation. Whereas the ancients would create gods in their own image, today the "sophisticated" people of our world have made science their god. And since science tells them that man has evolved and that, the longer we go in human history the "better we get," the more they lose sight of their own depravity.

 



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